GOP Push For Statewide Pennsylvania Poll Watchers Is Denied

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, a voter marks his ballot while voting in Elk Grove, Calif. Oregon is the first state to adopt the idea that it is the government's responsibility to register voters — a move that could increase the number of registered voters by 13 percent by the November election. California has approved similar legislation, and automatic registration bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Rich Pedroncelli/FILE

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal judge has denied the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s effort to allow poll watchers from anywhere in the state monitor precincts on Election Day.

The state party filed for a temporary restraining order Oct. 21, claiming that the current Pennsylvania law regarding poll watchers is unconstitutional. Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Gerald J. Pappert denied the motion Thursday.

The challenge came as polls showed a tight race between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump has warned of “rigged elections” in “other communities” including cities like Philadelphia and has encouraged supporters to monitor the polls.

State law allows poll watchers to monitor locations only within the county in which they are registered to vote. The lawsuit claimed that the law violates voters’ free speech.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.